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Iran Interlink Weekly Digest – 197

++ Reports from Albania reveal that the MEK has issued new mobile phones to those members who are allowed to leave the camp. They must stay in groups of two or three in order to monitor each other. They are instructed not to talk to anyone Iranian, especially ex members or the families. But the members have discovered that these mobiles are connected to a server inside the MEK camp so that the MEK can track the phone’s location and every conversation and text is recorded from inside the camp. The members assume these phones have been given to the MEK by the Pentagon. The members have been quick to stop using them after Iran-Interlink warned of this on its site. Those members who have contact with the outside world now leave their mobile with a trusted co-member while they go to an internet café. The MEK has offered rewards for anyone who pin points who they are and in particular anyone who talks to Sahar, Iran-Interlink etc and passes information.

++ On the anniversary of Forough Javidan (aka Mersad, Eternal Light) the MEK published its usual nonsense to glorify the deaths of the members and supporters in that failed operation. Some families have written commentary to say that rather than apologising for killing them for no reason, the MEK have gambled with the lives of people and are now enjoying the tragic results. Some reminded them of the path they have taken since then. One is titled ‘From Forough to Villepinte’. The central question is ‘why did you have to kill so many of our children if all you wanted to do was to dance for foreigners in Villepinte?’

++ Professor Houshang Amirahmadi, head of the American Iranian Council, was interviewed by BBC Farsi. The interview covered a variety of issues. Amirahmadi touched on the MEK as well because he was asked “where do they stand?” He went into detail to interpret the attendance of people like ‘Mojahed Brother’ Rudi Giuliani and others at Villepinte and other MEK gatherings. He explained that “this is what you get when you pay money. None of these people have responsibility for anything and their speeches make no difference. As someone involved in American politics all my life, I can say this has no effect whatsoever on how US policy is shaped.”

++ Abdulreza Nikbin, one of original founders of the MEK, died of cancer last week in Tehran. Said Shahsavandi, a prominent veteran member who left them many years ago, wrote his memories of that time for BBC Farsi. He says Nikbin was one of original MEK founders but left because he disagreed with them. Afterwards the MEK eliminated him in their publications, removing his name and photographs of him, and in his place promoted the fourth highest ranking member. Shahsavandi praised him as a good man. In answer to this, Fanoos Association in Germany wrote ‘The False Heroes’. This article explained that “if it hadn’t been for the failure of people like Nikbin and you [Shahsavandi] to speak out about the real nature of the MEK, which was in order to preserve your own dignity and keep your face in public, the MEK wouldn’t have had the opportunity to deceive so many victims who followed. Instead of praising yourselves as heroes you should condemn yourself as guilty of cowardice. You didn’t dare speak out because you were afraid the MEK would shout back at you.”

++ Javad Firouzmand from Ariya Association in Paris published a piece exposing the MEK’s photoshopping and fabrication of information. On the occasion of Forough the MEK published the usual picture of a woman hanging upside down from a tree. The MEK claim this is Tahereh Tolouh and say this is what the Iranian army did this to her. The MEK claim many other atrocities were committed such as rape. Firouzmand says I was there during Forough and none of this is true. In evidence, he published pictures of the same tree, without the body, taken from different angles. It is clear the tree is not substantial enough to bear the weight of a body. The rope also is too thick and could not have been used in the way the photograph shows. He demonstrates that the whole scenario is crudely faked but MEK have built a whole false narrative around it.

++ Ebrahim Khodabandeh, CEO of Nejat Association, visited Mashad this week. He had several interviews with various media on the occasion of Mersad (Forough Javidan or Eternal Light). In one video interview Khodabandeh explained in detail how Massoud Rajavi called a meeting to announce the operation and silenced anyone who questioned him. Among these were a married couple who had left Iran only four months previously. When Rajavi claimed that the Iranian people would rise up and help the MEK once they entered Iran, the couple said ’no’. They described what they knew of the atmosphere in Iran during the war and in particular the public perception of the MEK as traitors fighting alongside Saddam Hussein. Rajavi dismissed their speech and silenced them because he could not tolerate being gainsaid even by facts. Khodabandeh also held meetings with the ex-members and families in Khorasan where he discussed the situation of the MEK in Albania and what is happening with the members there.

In English:

++ Mazda Parsi writing for Nejat Society asks whether either the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia or the MEK actually believe regime change in Iran is possible. The article quotes various critics of the MEK who say that nobody who knows the group should have any illusions about how hated they are in Iran. Daniel Larson writes “… In reality, most Iranians don’t want regime change, and they definitely don’t want it forced upon them from the outside by people that clearly hate them.”

++ The Financial Tribune, Iran, examines the United States’ threats to take legal action against Iran for various terrorist acts and to claim compensation for the victims. Iranian lawmakers called it part of a “psychological game” and dismissed such actions as “an act of international lawlessness.” Mentioning the MEK, lawmaker Mohammad Ebrahim Rezaei said “Iran has been a victim of terrorism in a number of cases where the US was directly involved,” promising that it is Iran that would take action against the US for damages caused by its backing for terrorists.

++ Amidst rumours that the Trump administration is considering the MEK as an instrument of regime change in Iran, Nejat Society wrote an article describing how the Iranian people view the MEK as traitors and that they would never accept the group.

 August 04, 2017

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